Fred and I went to a New Year’s Eve party hosted by Fred’s work colleague. It was nice and overall I had a good time. I spent a lot of time speaking with a guest, Olivier (not the nice one from our wedding), who had studied and worked in London for five years. His English was excellent and he was sitting on the sofa, making him an easy target.
You’d think I would be grateful to have someone to talk to. But in this case, silence would have been more entertaining. Things started off around the word “twat” a cute little word he had picked up in England. I told him that in the U.S. that word is considered offensive by most (I assumed it had a different meaning in British English). He said, no in fact, it was very offensive, more offensive than the c-word.
Shortly thereafter, he told me that his ex-girlfriend, who was pregnant with their child, had broken up with him on Christmas Day. Perhaps this is why he was fast to bring up the word twat. He explained that he didn’t want to come out that night, but he felt he must to save himself from jumping out the window at the strike of midnight. (I considered calling a taxi in the hopes I could get him back home by 11:59 p.m.) I wanted to tell him that his girlfriend, who already had a child from a former boyfriend, sounded like a mess. I guess I didn’t see the point, considering that probably was the only woman that would have him.
The conversation moved on to the topic of work. He is a scientist for an oil company and spoke of his position as if he was worthy of a Nobel Prize. He told me that his job was very exciting as he often traveled to Congo on two-week boat trips to assess off-shore oil production. He laughed as he told me of the immigrants who worked on these boats for months at a time. That it must be awful for them, but apparently they needed the money. He said there was a dog on the boat at one point, but it “disappeared” – insinuating that the workers had eaten it. I wanted to tell him that the dog probably committed suicide, jumping overboard to avoid another two-week trip with him. (It was at this point that I began to suspect that the child probably wasn’t even his and was conceived during one of his many boat trips, but I didn’t raise the issue because the thought of him paying child support for another man's baby delighted me.)
Continuing on his self-important tirade, he volunteered that he used to work at the CEA (where Fred currently works), but only for eight months. He found it boring and believes that the CEA is a place where a scientist should go when he is in his 50s, not when he is young and full of passion. Yes, spending two weeks on a boat in the Congo away from your future child and easy girlfriend, eating dog sounds thrilling. He's drilling oil, not curing cancer.
We moved on to the topic of geography. Fred entered the conversation and asked Olivier if he was originally from Bordeaux (he was a guest of Fred’s friend from Bordeaux, a natural assumption). He said (knowing that Fred was from Bordeaux), “No, I don’t like Bordeaux”. I wondered how this extra bit of information was helpful, but was soon distracted with jealous thoughts toward "his" future child and how lucky the baby would be not to have this jackass in his or her life.
We moved on to the U.S. I asked him if he had visited. He shared that he had been to Minnesota, New York, and Boston and that he couldn’t stand Boston because it was “trying to look like a European city”. Hello, idiot! Who do you think founded Boston? Yes, Europeans, who presumably designed and built the city. This I told him (without the idiot part, which I assumed was implied). While we were on the subject of the U.S., he took the opportunity to tell me that he didn’t like the American accent. I saw that as my opportunity to shut-up and stop torturing him with my beastlike grunts.
I scurried away to find my husband, and just in time! A few moments later, we rang in the New Year! And it was fabulous to be away from that loser, but mostly fabulous to be in Fred’s arms! On the train ride home, I couldn’t help but wonder what a better year 2006 would be had Olivier stayed home.